This past weekend I said goodbye to my brother, Tim, as he headed out on the 35 hour road trip to Los Angeles. He has the incredible opportunity to study film at a university out there and do an internship at a studio. After he graduates in May, his hope is to stay out there and work in film. It’s his dream, this road he’s on. Someday I will be sitting in a theater, watching a movie he directed. I know it. I believe in him.
But this goodbye sucked. There’s no other way to put it. I could try to make it sound more poetic, try to be a real writer. But it sucked. It was the kind of goodbye that rips a person’s heart out, stomps on it a couple of times, and tries to fit it back into her chest. I felt bruised and broken, like someone stole a part of me.
He’s more than just my brother. He’s my best friend. I love him more than chocolate or coffee or chocolate covered coffee beans. And that’s a lot.
And that’s the problem with love. Love is a terrifying thing. I find that friendships scare me sometimes, not because I’m scared of getting hurt by the other person. They scare me because I know what goodbye feels like. I know what it feels like to watch the world change before my eyes. I know what it’s like to watch a car pull out of the driveway and wonder when I will get to spend time with the person sitting in the driver’s seat.
It’s a scary thing, to care so deeply for another person.
But as I find myself reflecting on the emotions of the past week, I don’t wish for a different relationship with my brother. I don’t wish away all of the moments that grew us closer, the times that took us from siblings to friends. I don’t regret the vulnerability between the two of us, the conversations that were tough, the love spoken kindly. I don’t wish for an easier goodbye.
Because that’s the thing about people, about relationships with people, about friendships. They’re tough and messy, and they hurt . But they are beautiful. They breathe life into a person.
Tim and I don’t have the perfect relationship. We went to Italy this summer with my parents, and there were moments that we both wanted to “accidentally” leave each other at a train station. But in the end, we choose to love each other, to support each other, to encourage each other.
Thank you for teaching me how to be a great sibling. Thank you for all the cards of encouragement you sent to me. Thanks for being the only sibling in the world to send a Starbucks gift card to his sister just because he knows how much she loves coffee. Thanks for randomly showing up at Taylor when I least expected it, for bringing flowers. Thanks for calling even when I always forget to call you. Thanks for the hours you listened to me, cried with me, encouraged me.
You’re my biggest fan, and I am yours. I believe in you more than I believe in myself most days. Your dreams may take years to become reality. You and I are the same in that regard. But I have no doubt that someday I will sit in a theater, one hand wedged in a pack of sour gummy worms for old time’s sake and the other holding a Diet Pepsi, as your movie starts. I will cheer for you when you succeed. I will cheer for you when you fail.
It takes courage to pack up and leave home, leave the comforts and the family. Don’t lose this courage.
You made goodbye extremely hard. In the process you reminded me of why true and meaningful relationships scare me. You reminded me of when vulnerability and friendship hurt. But that’s ok because I wouldn’t trade our friendship for anything.
See you soon.